S. E. Cohn – ( )

Maya spoke to him in a parenthetical tone. It was all very tongue-in-cheek. But maybe her whole life had been that way; encased in parentheses. Her father was a famous Broadway playwright and her mother a socialite. A child was their parentheses. A sort of whisper to their Jewish parents (to get off their backs), a proof (that they loved each other) and a reminder (to be better to one another). And she grew up during the 70s in an Upper East Side house of decadent parties where couples came over and dropped their keys into a bowl. She was told to stay in her room and read books (but sometimes she peeked). Most couples rejoined hands at dawn and watched the sun rise before leaving.

And ten years later, like she preferred, Maya was with a stray. Men passing through town offered her the best love. It was always romantic and capricious. Like the men she spied on years ago from her bedroom door, they were passionate, desperate and loved to whisper.

“Tell them you found a lover,” he whispered into her ear after he came. He wanted her to call her parents and get some dough for the two of them to hit the road together. “My brother has a place in Florida.”

She snickered and raised her eyes suggestively.

“Who says you’re the only one?” She reached for the bottle of beer on the nightstand and lipped it playfully, tilting her head back as she swallowed.

“Oh c’mon!” he pleaded. “The things you said! We can be together!” He tried taking her into his arms, but she turned her back towards him and replied, “And do what? (Watch the sun rise?)”

S.E. Cohn

S.E. Cohn is a writer from Ventura, California. His work has appeared in Word Riot and Wanderlust Review, as well as weekly newspapers throughout California and Idaho. He had a two-year stint in a semi-pro Mexican hardball league. He played catcher and batted .347, but threw out only one runner. He is also the frontman for The Pullmen, a Southern California rock band.